GFM Network News

Racing an analogy for battery-powered tractors

Racing an analogy for battery-powered tractors

Producing renewable electricity from farm biomass would be the ultimate closed loop

For an analogy on the advancement of battery-powered machinery, Dennis St. George turns to car racing. Formula E is an all-electric car racing league formally known as the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. Its first season began in 2014. Better battery technology will eventually find its way into farm equipment. Its cars bear great resemblance to

University of Winnipeg’s Brandyn Berg, who looks after energy management and special projects at the downtown university says they’re very excited about their new biomass heating system and hope it gets more thinking about using renewable 
energy sources.

University pioneering urban biomass heating

The University of Winnipeg’s new biomass heating system will be a model for other institutions, 
say proponents of alternative energy sources

When school starts this fall, the University of Winnipeg will flip the switch on a novel way to keep downtown buildings heated — with boilers that burn wood pellets. Last fall the downtown university took delivery of two 100-kilowatt biomass boilers, to provide supplementary heating a steam plant now provides for its Ashdown, Manitoba and

The Elbe River at Oberrathen, southeast of Dresden. (

Germany plans to toughen conditions for insecticide use

Berlin | Reuters — Germany plans to make it more difficult for farmers to use crop insecticides in a bid to preserve biodiversity, an environment ministry document showed. “Insect biomass has fallen by more than 75 per cent in the last 27 years in Germany,” according to the paper seen by Reuters on Wednesday, saying

Cattail harvesting for fuel is just one way Manitoba could better use its available biomass for economic and environmental good.

Biomass atlas provides map for future sustainability

Manitoba could be a global leader in this sector of the bioeconomy

Biomass is a big topic, but it’s an even bigger opportunity for Manitoba, one so big the province as a whole needs to understand it. From the science to the already-established industry and future opportunities, Manitoba could be a global leader in the world’s bioeconomy. That is exactly why the International Institute for Sustainable Development

New research may be paving the way to more efficiently converting biomass like cornstalks into biofuels.

Cutting the cost of ethanol

Researchers devise a way to reduce the amount of enzymes needed to convert biomass into biofuels

Biofuels like ethanol could get cheaper if new research from Rutgers and Michigan State universities holds up. Scientists there have demonstrated how to design and genetically engineer enzyme surfaces so they bind less to cornstalks and other cellulosic biomass, reducing enzyme costs in biofuels production, according to a study published in the journal ACS Sustainable

Delegates participating in the Canadian Society for Bioengineering convention Food, Fuel and Fibre for a Sustainable Future enter the ‘Green Garage’ site at the University of Manitoba’s Alternative Village during an August tour.

U of M showcases alternative building materials

‘Hempcrete,’ soy-based roof panels and other Manitoba-grown biomass products 
are tested and evaluated at University of Manitoba’s Alternative Village

It looks like any other shipping container, but what’s inside could help boost food security in remote areas of the country one day. Biosystems engineers at the University of Manitoba are perfecting a self-contained unit which includes a biomass boiler that produces up to 56 kW of heat. The unit also has a Stirling engine

Andy Martin (l) of Providence College discusses cattail biomass with Dimple Roy (c) and Richard Grosshans (r) of the International Institute for Sustainable Development. IISD and the college, along with several Hutterite colonies are proving biomass heating to be practical.

Hutterite colonies leading the masses with biomass heating

IISD, colonies and Providence College are proving biomass heating technology to be viable

Manitoba’s Hutterite colonies are leading a made-in-Manitoba farm heating movement. “With the provincial ban on the use of coal for space heating in Manitoba, a good number of Manitoba’s Hutterite colonies have recently upgraded or converted their heating systems from aging coal-burning systems to cleaner biomass boiler heating systems,” says Richard Grosshans, bioeconomy lead for

Sacramento-based Origin Materials in March started working with bottled-water firms Nestle Waters and Danone on development of plastic bottles made from biomass feedstocks. (

Bioprocessor coming to Sarnia

Bioindustrial Innovation Canada (BIC) has invested in California bio-based products company Origin Materials. Origin Materials will be building its first commercial-scale demonstration facility in Sarnia, Ont. by late next year. It will be using bio-based feedstocks such as crops and biomass to make new polymers, surfactants and carbon blacks, which are used as fillers and

Roots are an often overlooked part of any plant.

Scientists root out answers

A new and simpler method to measure root mass promises plant scientists better insight into the below-ground differences of plants

When it comes to plant roots it’s out of sight, out of mind. But roots are an essential part of almost all plants and crucial to plant productivity and food production. For scientists, a better understanding of roots is important and their measurement is increasingly of interest. The problem is measuring roots is a hard